Category: The Science of Marketing

Musings on interdisciplinary scientific research, trends and findings that affect (and, in some cases, effect) the way we market goods, services and opportunities.

15 Jan 2019
being-heard-on-twitter_tom-blog_copy_blog

Just How Loud Do You Have to Scream to Be Heard on Twitter?

I’ve decided that I hate social media. I’ve joined neither Facebook nor Snap. I am on Instagram, but only to share vacation pictures with my family because I’m too lazy to sort and share photos with them after my trips. I gave up on LinkedIn because I find the timeline poorly designed and I’m not looking for a job anyway. I also stopped reading (and generally writing) blogs because I don’t care and don’t think other people do either. So, if someone besides the Director of Communication for bloomfield knoble is reading this, you have my permission to bail out now.

Well, if you’re actually still reading, then I have to admit that I used to really be into Twitter. I mean really into Twitter. I would post all day — use hashtags, join conversations, try to influence conversations (for or against depending on the topic) and more often than not, complain about some injustice against me (real or perceived). At one point I had nearly 100,000 followers.

And then a funny thing happened. I got bored. I’ve already shared with you that I’m quite lazy, so it didn’t take long for the novelty of Twitter to subside. I went from Tweeting a lot to now-and-then and then that became infrequently until it was pretty much never. I lost nearly all of my subscribers but honestly didn’t care. Most of my friends had given up on Twitter too – either also moving away from social networks in general or moving to a different platform. As such, I simply let it fade from memory and forgot about it.

Until recently, when I got really mad at my pest control company for a real (not perceived) injustice. I was so mad that I hopped on Twitter just to vent my frustration and (in my imaginary world) start a movement among the masses that had also been wronged by said company. Together our voices would force change as our postings became a trending topic which would go viral and then spread across different media and social networks. Satisfaction would be rendered. Justice would be mine!

Except, of course, none of that happened. No one joined the conversation – not one like or reply or retweet – not even from the brand itself as I’m not sure they even monitored their unverified account anyway.

I wasn’t surprised that my Tweets got no traction – I have few followers now – many of whom I suspect are inactive as well – and although I structured the posts properly (tagging the brand, using a hashtag) it’s just background noise in today’s world of political topic-driven social media. However, as a Behavioral Economist, I was interested in just what I would have to do to be heard on Twitter.

As an advertising agency, we at bloomfield knoble have been chasing the dream of going viral forever, but no amount of math or predictive analytics can really account for the irrationality of humans. Nevertheless, I was curious about how to measure – beyond the analytics Twitter provides – how one could analyze impact on a social network. A bit of research and some investigating later, I came across an excellent paper in the Journal of Physics by Natya Taniarza, Adiwijaya and Warih Maharani at the School of Computing, Telkom University, Bandung, Indonesia. Their paper, Social network analysis using k-Path centrality method, gave me some great insight into why my Tweets (in particular) don’t matter.

Here’s the abstract to their paper:

“k-Path centrality is deemed as one of the effective methods to be applied in centrality measurement in which the influential node is estimated as the node that is being passed by information path frequently. Regarding this, k-Path centrality has been employed in the analysis of this paper specifically by adapting random-algorithm approach in order to: (1) determine the influential user’s ranking in social media Twitter; and (2) ascertain the influence of parameter ain the numeration of k-Path centrality. According to the analysis, the findings showed that the method of k-Path centrality with random-algorithm approach can be used to determine user’s ranking which influences in the dissemination of information in Twitter. Furthermore, the findings also showed that parameter influenced the duration and the ranking results: the less the avalue, the longer the duration, yet the ranking results were more stable.”

The paper is worth reading and I’m not going to do justice to their research, but here’s the bottom-line – specifically as it impacts me. Basically, a person needs a lot of followers (which I don’t have anymore) or needs to wield influence in a group (node) of people who are likely to participate in the conversation – or are also connected in different groups where they wield influence.

It’s like the gossip game. If I have a small group of friends, but they have no friends, then even though I shared – our little circle is as far as it goes. However, if one of my friends is in another circle of friends – and that person tells that circle – and someone in that circle tells another circle – pretty soon a lot of people have heard. This is actually common-sense in a way. Anyone that has ever been on social media gets how this works. It’s not the process that can be hard to understand – it’s the measurement.

The big buzzword for the past couple of years has been “influencer marketing.” Brands know they need to have an influencer but understanding who – and how much to spend – and what the return-on-investment could be – is a vital part of marketing. Understanding that influence doesn’t move in a straight-line and utilizing the learning in Taniarza’s paper may be an important factor in projecting success.

Anyway, all the math showed me was that no one cared that I was whining about my pest control company, so I gave up on my dream of Twitter vengeance and decided to vent my frustration against their company by firing them – convinced that the $29 per month they were losing would cripple their business economy. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em! Who’s with me?

#Vivalarevolucion

Sources:

Taniarza N., Maharani A., Maharani W. Social network analysis using k-Path centrality method. IOP Publishing: International Conference on Data and Information Science. IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 971 (2018) 012015. dos: 10.1088/1742-6596/971/1/012015. (Natya Taniarza et al 2018 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser 971 012015)

 


About the Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect with Thomas Thompson
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

18 Dec 2018
product-placement_blog

Product Placement Impacts You — Even When You’re Aware of It

Alternate title: How product placement can affect everyday decision-making — more specifically, how even I, a self-aware, independent individual [accidentally] fell for a fictitious character’s recommendation after re-watching the 1995 rom-com Clueless, and thereby proving that product placement can be more than just a joke.

In the world of American entertainment, we are no strangers to product placement. It’s become so integrated into our society that it gets made fun of ironically — with more product placement. From subtle appearances like Nike in Back to the Future 2 to Wayne’s World’s infamous scene where they don’t want to sell out with Pizza Hut and Reebok, we are immersed in advertisements.

[Side note: I know those are both 90s movies, but that’s the recurring theme of this post. For something more current, check out the product placement overload in Man of Steel.]

Product placement ads add small reminders called brand recall to your life. And if used strategically, they can act as a referral that vouches for the product.

U.S. product placement increased 13.7% in 2017 and continues to grow. This is because product placement has a pattern of very positive results. Now, you may love them, or you may make fun of them with your friends, but that’s the point. You’re talking about the brand, which is what the company wants — to be at the front of your mind.

Photo: Rotten Tomatoes

It’s probably been about 10 years since I sat down and watched Clueless, but I was thinking about how Paul Rudd doesn’t age… and well, here we are. As I watched this funny movie with my developed marketing mindset, three things stood out:

1. Some of the product placement goes unnoticed because it fits the setting. These are stores in the mall, shopping bags, cars, etc. And honestly, it’s perfect because it fits the setting of the movie: wealthy teenagers in 1995 Beverly Hills, California. Of course, they’ll go to a mall and wear designer clothing. Seeing them immersed in fashion makes perfect sense.

2. There is blatant product placement [that felt out of place] just twice.

First is when Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is looking for a potential girlfriend for her debate teacher, we watch her first-person perspective as she makes her way through the teacher’s lounge. Suddenly, she gets distracted by a Snickers bar — then pauses and returns to her mission.

The second is a Mentos commercial when Ty (Brittany Murphy) turns on the television and watches/sings along with the classic 90s Mentos commercial song (i.e., “Mentos fresh and full of life”).

Both are slightly awkward, but surprisingly fit the characters, so I let it pass.

3. The majority of the product placement is spoken. From designers like Calvin Klein to breakfast foods like Special K, the script is filled with product name dropping left and right, but always causally. So casually, in fact, that I can’t even guarantee that these companies/people are placed advertisements, or just used to fit the story.

My favorites include:

    • “Buns of Steel” exercise videos
    • Marky Mark (now Mark Wahlberg)
    • CliffsNotes
    • Snapple (lemon-flavored)
    • Billie Holiday
    • Hamlet (specifically the 1990 version, which Cher only watched because of Mel Gibson)

 

Fast forward to this morning, as I stopped at the drug store to get a few things. As I was deciding if I should get a soda to take to the office, I passed by an end-cap full of Snapple. I stopped and knowingly thought This is what Cher would have with her lunch. I must admit that it is way healthier than soda.

I opted for peach over lemon, but I still made the purchase based off a fictional character’s preference — not even from a blunt visual like the Snickers bar, but from a fly-by comment about Snapple.

How did this happen? As a female young adult living in a city, I am its target demographic. The advertising in this movie was aimed at me and others who essentially idolize Cher, or maybe young Alicia Silverstone. (I did binge watch old Aerosmith music videos after the movie.) Maybe it was a little bit of that, but don’t forget one of the most important steps in the consumer journey: Consideration (or Evaluation). I’m trying to drink healthier, and I was triggered by the end-cap to recall a memory of someone saying they liked Snapple. I then rationalized it with the consideration that it actually was a healthier alternative to soda.

Opportunity met brand awareness and familiarity to solidify my decision to purchase. Looking back, the name-drop worked a bit like word-of-mouth marketing — a recommendation from someone I trusted.

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

11 Jul 2018
google

Aim for the Bullseye, then Try Again

Every marketing and advertising campaign needs associated metric goals and reporting. These key performance indicators (KPIs) help you tailor the future of your marketing team [or allocation if you wear multiple hats].

When asked “Is your marketing successful?” 43% of CoSchedule’s surveyed group answered neutral or lower. If almost half are undecisive or unsatisfied, that’s a lot of wasted effort. But did you know that cognitive computing can help you aim your campaigns more closely to your audience and speed up the fine-tuning of your campaign styles?

As discussed in the first two parts of this series, marketing and advertising campaigns are a mixture of creative thinking and mass amounts of data—e.g., understanding your customer and showing them something that would get their attention.

Truer than trial and error, cognitive computing gives you a simulated estimate of the feedback from your audience. This serves your business two-fold.

Firstly, you can have an idea of what you can expect from your customers before the launch. [This is different than what we talked about in part 2; here, we are talking about after the design is completed, but before the campaign is actually unveiled.] By gauging your customer response prior to the actual campaign launch, you can set realistic goals and benchmarks.

Holding your campaign to unrealistically high KPIs will just bum you out, even if the results are positive. Adversely, unrealistically low KPIs will make you pessimistic and quite possibility kill your campaign before it even hits the ground. It’s all about perception when it comes to your goals, and, in this case, foresight will make you more accurate and potentially happier.

Secondly, when you campaign is completed, you can compare the estimated metrics against the actual metrics for a post-mortem on your completed campaign. Since your expectations were realistic, you can ask yourself, did the results match? Was there a higher response from an unexpected market or audience? Did you overspend or underspend where it really would have made a difference?

This follow-up is essential to moving forward with your marketing mindset. Seeing your KPIs compared against your now-logical goals allows you to rework what you learned into your next advertising campaign. You can finally gain that competitive edge… on yourself.

Don’t miss out on:

Part 1: Your Campaign Worked… But How Do You Know Which Part?

Part 2: Stimulate Your Creative Process

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

 

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

27 Jun 2018
data-vs-goliath-part-2-051618_google

Stimulate Your Creative Process

Before customer data was so readily available and the number of mediums became countless, advertising was simpler. Still a challenge, but simpler.

I think of Mad Men, particularly when they come up with the idea for lipsticks in season 1. What we watched was a focus group of their target audience (young women of the 1960s) try on various hues of lipsticks and answering questions from the company’s market researcher.

Once they figured out the copy – and the copywriter in this case – the episode is done with this plot.

The thing is… today, that’s only half the job. Where does this ad go? Does it come out as an email blast, mailouts, text messages, billboards, a magazine, etc.? They never tell us the base strategy of the campaign, which personally bothers me, because the slogans they decide on are so abstract that I can’t wrap my head around a medium that works with the copy. I see a vague design, but not a medium.

In part 1 of these series, we talked about how cognitive computing mimics human thoughts and opinions. In that statement alone, so much is unsaid by the person, like:

  • Do I know this brand?
  • Is this something I’ve heard of?
  • Do I know anyone who uses or recommends this?
  • Is this brand honest?
  • Will I waste my money here, or get tricked?
  • Do I expect any repercussions or stigmatization for using the brand?
  • Do I actually need to buy this?

Learning how your customers (active or potential) behave prepares you for these questions moving forward. The good news is once you identify this information and let it evolve with your growing or changing clientele, you get to go back to creative part.

Why do you need to do the strategy first? It might seem more fun to come up with catchy slogans with your coworkers and then make it an advertisement… because it is. However, your medium decides the roots of the message you choose, and sometimes, what you come up with doesn’t fit where you want to advertise. Slogans for a billboard may not work for a commercial spot. A magazine ad may not work for mailed postcards.

Once you know how (strategy) and where (medium) you want to advertise, you have guidelines to work with. Cognitive computing brings you there more quickly, by helping you see the way your customers think and feel – with real numbers that you can trust. Then you use these results to start brainstorming, which is already stronger due to your focus on your audience and your medium. It’s much easier to be creative with a directly, then to just pull ideas out of the idea.

Don’t skip Part 1. Check it out here.

 


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

 


Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

17 May 2018
data-vs-goliath-part-1-050818_google

Your campaign worked… but how do you know which part?

You’ve done the research, the legwork and maybe even some focus studies before your last campaign, and the results were actually strong enough to reach your goals. That’s great! But what made it different from the others that had less success? It can be hard to tell without the right tools or information.

What is cognitive computing?

According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created daily – that’s a huge increase of data compared to just a few years ago. Studies show that 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years alone. It’s too much to process but it’s all important. That data contains your consumers opinions and preferences, which is as available as it is fast through just scrolling down a social media feed.

Cognitive computing synthesizes the data you need by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to simulate how the human mind operates. Basically, cognitive computing impacts advertising by helping you guide your campaign to align its message with its audience.

In 1998, bloomfield knoble was founded as an internet design and development company that quickly blossomed into a full-service advertising agency. We use creativity and cognitive computing to work with our company, including large U.S. organizations like NASA, Fannie Mae and Vizient.

Through observed trends and patterns of typical target customer thoughts, opinions, emotions and actions, campaign results become more accurate and, therefore, more valuable.

The cognitive way of thinking is quickly catching fire. In fact, according to a survey conducted during a 2017 IBM study:

  • 73% of global CEOs feel that “cognitive computing will play an important role in the future of their organizations”
  • 50% of global CEOs said “they plan to adopt cognitive computing by 2019”
  • Executives who participated in the survey anticipate 15% return on investment from these endeavors

How will your business benefit from this?

This 3-part series is based on a presentation by our chief operating officer, Tom Thompson, on May 18, 2018, at the Plano Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Council Breakfast.


About the Author

amanda-lovewell-headshot

Amanda Lovewell is a copyeditor for bloomfield knoble. She works to keep the brand voice intact for us, and for our clients. She lives for any form of artistic expression, especially music. One day, she would love to travel creating short stories about her misadventures.

Connect with Amanda Lovewell
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

 


Who is bloomfield knoble?

bk is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bk provides a one-to-one approach.

Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at (214) 254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

09 May 2016

Qubits—Not Qbert

Let’s be honest – I’m not always hard at work in my office here at bloomfield knoble. These moments are infrequent, mind you, but they do occur. While I should probably use my free time to get some form of exercise, I instead use them to pursue my side passion—quantum mechanics. Now, thanks to IBM offering access to a five-qubit quantum processor, my desire for free time (and exponential decrease in productivity) is about to go through some dramatic changes.qbert

By exploiting the weirdness of quantum mechanics, quantum computers can store and process information as qubits, which can be a mixture of 0 and 1 at the same time. This allows them to far surpass conventional computers in certain tasks. IBM is working on computers with tens of qubits, so is putting its now-unneeded smaller chip online. “We want to make it accessible to people who might not know much about quantum computing, but are interested in learning about it,” says Jerry Chow of IBM Research in New York.

You program the chip using what IBM calls Composer, because the interface resembles a musical score. Tutorials explain how to drag and drop different quantum logic gates to create an algorithm, which is then run on the chip in IBM’s lab. Chow hopes that both the general public and expert users will try out the device, giving his team data that will inform research on larger computers. “We want to see where things don’t work as well, and the stability of the experiment over time,” he says. “We’re keen to be surprised by the algorithms external users are trying.”

Don’t worry about needing to actually understand quantum mechanics because if quantum physics sounds challenging to you, you are not alone. Everyone’s intuitions are based on our day-to-day experiences and are defined by classical physics—so most of us find the concepts in quantum physics counterintuitive at first. In order to comprehend the quantum world, you must let go of your beliefs about our physical world, and develop an intuition for a completely different (and often surprising) set of laws.

The goal with the IBM Quantum Experience is to introduce this world through a set of five short tutorials, and by providing the hands-on opportunity to experiment with operations on a real quantum computing processor. This way, they hope to foster a quantum intuition in the greater community, and spark interest in those who are curious. By making quantum concepts more widely understood—even on a general level—IBM can more deeply explore all the possibilities quantum computing offers, and more rapidly bring its exciting power to a world that thinks it is limited by the laws of classical physics.

Check it out for yourself.

I’ve written about quantum computing many, many times, but my fundamental belief remains the same—that quantum computing will fundamentally change the way computers process data. Since I am “encouraged” to write blog articles that are at least remotely tied to advertising and marketing, I believe that quantum computers will process such large amounts of data so quickly that precision marketing will look like the movie Minority Report. I doubt that any of this will occur in my lifetime, but it’s coming. Just look back to the mid-60s when direct mail began using data to better target consumers—and then think about the most recent pre-roll video you saw in your Twitter timeline. Huge leaps in advertising have been made possible by computers—and it’s really just getting started.


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
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# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

15 Feb 2016

True Artificial Intelligence Closer to Reality

I, for one, welcome our new computer overlord.

I’ve seen enough movies to know that an Artificial Intelligence will rule the planet some day. While these usually end up going pretty poorly for humans (The Matrix, Terminator), I’m hoping that a pro-AI article (most likely being read by the AI) will allow me a position in the new world order. Perhaps bloomfield knoble can be the agency promoting the excellence and benevolence of our wise, yet still humble, AI ruler?

Why the sudden shift on the AI spectrum? It’s because the evil geniuses at Google DeepMind, along with equally evil geniuses at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) at the University of Montreal, have created a machine that beat the European champion at the ancient game of Go and mastered several video games from the Atari 2600. While that may not seem a huge deal (I mean, really, Space Invaders wasn’t that challenging – I totally mastered it after 3 years of constant play), the face that the team just created an artificial intelligence that can navigate 3D mazes (think Doom) is.

According to a recently published article, the team proposes “a conceptually simple and lightweight framework for deep reinforcement learning that uses asynchronous gradient descent for optimization of deep neural network controllers. The best performing method, an asynchronous variant of actor-critic . . . succeeds on a wide variety of continuous motor control problems as well as on a new task involving finding rewards in random 3D mazes using a visual input.” In plain language, they just invented a machine that can play a game by looking at the screen. This really should be written like, JUST BY LOOKING AT THE SCREEN!

From a science perspective, this is a big deal because it was generally believed that the combination of simple online reinforcement learning algorithms with deep neural networks was fundamentally unstable. Most research in this area focused on the idea that the sequence of observed data encountered by an online reinforcement learning agent is non-stationary and online reinforcement learning updates are strongly correlated. By storing the agent’s data in an experience replay memory, the data can be batched or randomly sampled from different time-steps. Aggregating over memory in this way reduces non-stationarity and decor relates updates, but at the same time limits the methods to off-policy refinfocement learning algorithms. The authors instead present a very different paradigm for deep reinforcement learning. Instead of experience replay, they asynchronously execute multiple agents in parallel, on multiple instances of the environment. This parallelism also decor relates the agents’ data into a more stationary process, since at given time-step the parallel agents will be experiencing a variety of different states. This simple idea enables a much larger spectrum on fundamental on-policy reinforcement learning algorithms to be applied robustly and effectively using deep neural networks.

From a still-kind-of-science-but-what-does-that-mean-to-me perspective, this is a big deal because the results show that stable training of neural networks through reinforcement learning is possible with both value-based and policy-based methods, off-policy as well as on-policy methods, and in discrete as well as continuous domains. The experiments tested for the paper were just to show the proof of their concept. By combining other existing reinforcement learning methods or recent advances in deep reinforcements learning with asynchronous framework presents many possibilities for immediate improvements to the methods they presented. Basically, the team just made AI go from a pre-teen to a teenager and gave the blueprint for how it can head off to college to grow into a gracious and generous AI ruler who remembers, and rewards, the people that spoke positively about it during it’s awkward stages of puberty.

PS – In analyzing the data results in the paper, several data points were measured against a human (how well the human scored vs. the machine plotted over time) and it occurred to me that someone’s job at Google DeepMind is to play Atari 2600 video games for many, many hours on end. This really should be written like, GETS TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES. On the incredibly off-chance that anyone at Google DeepMind reads this, please keep me in mind for future reinforcement learning projects that involve humans playing video games. I assure you that I will put in as many hours as necessary to help you in the name of science. Thank you.


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
twitter
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

21 Jan 2016

The Branding Genius of Amazon Dash

First and foremost, let me make a confession: I’m pretty lazy. In fairness to me – as well as a desire to keep my job here at bloomfield knoble, I’m actually only lazy at some things – more specifically, things that I don’t consider important like: what I wear; what consumer goods I buy; consumption choices, etc. While this makes me an eternal source of frustration to my wife – it also makes me the perfect consumer for most advertising campaigns.

Agencies like bloomfield knoble work very hard to make sure that advertising campaigns capture and hold consumers through the entire sales cycle. Ads are designed to generate awareness among a relevant target audience. The message (hopefully) is engaging enough to drive action right then and there. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case, so additional efforts are used to convert the consumer into a buyer (usually incentives) and then (again, hopefully) the consumer is so thrilled with their purchase that they become loyal customers. In today’s world of social media, the really great hope is that the loyal customers also become advocates for the brand. It seems pretty straight-forward. In fact, bloomfield knoble recently completed a campaign for a brand of milk that fit this model.

Most people are aware of milk, so we didn’t have to sell the category, but we did need to promote awareness of this particular brand of milk – and the features that made it unique among other types of milk – which we did through a variety of tactical advertising. This particular milk is mostly beneficial to kids, so we targeted parents of school age children and gave a reason to believe that was relevant to their concerns. An incentive was offered on packaging to drive conversion which also drove further brand interaction to generate loyalty and advocacy at the same time. The campaign was very successful by every key performance indicator measurement that had agreed to prior to the campaign. the great part about a campaign like this is that it even worked on lazy people – like me. I pay little attention to advertising – relevant or not – and am very rarely engaged enough to take immediate action on a brand. I am, however, categorically motivated, so when we run out of milk (a dangerous situation in my household since my kid is a chocolate milk addict) I am off to the store. I have very little recall regarding brands, so instead of getting the one we always get, I just get whatever offers me the best incentive (price, gift with purchase, perceived health benefits, whatever). So in the case of the bloomfield knoble campaign, I would have been motivated by the incentive on the package and made a purchase.

There is plenty of debate and formulas to help define this media mix – what percentage should be in the form of an incentive vs. traditional advertising, etc., but generally speaking the process is always the same and it’s a tried-and-true method to drive sales. Until now.

In case you missed it, and not sure how you could have, the Amazon Dash system contains a WiFi link and, when activated, sends an electronic order to Amazon to replace a relevant product. For consumable products that use a device such as a coffee machine or water filter, the Amazon Dash system is used as a service (known officially as the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, or “DRS”) and is seamlessly integrated into the device. For other consumable products such as toilet paper or sport drinks, a separate external button can be used to re-order supplies.

As a consumer, I’m thrilled. I don’t ever want to worry about laundry detergent again. I can buy a washing machine that stores detergent and whatever the other stuff that goes into laundry is and once in a whenever that stuff has to be loaded time is here – boom – it’s on my doorstep. Thank you Amazon.

As an employee of an advertising agency, I’m kind of freaking out. The number of people who, like me, make decisions on purchase in-store is staggering. Even with mobile devices and coupons and social media, the majority of people who shop (especially for commodity items, like groceries) make purchasing decisions in store. We have always relied on branding elements, like recall, and incentives (like coupons) to drive purchase, but now we’re faced with the challenge of all of that going away. It used to be that brands would compete within a category – a person shopping in store would turn down the laundry aisle and then make a decision between brands – but now the battle is going to shift to an entirely new arena. Now the battle is going to be to get consumers to buy a specific type of washing machine – which has cut a business deal with a detergent brand – in order to drive purchase.

It’s not much of a stretch to think that business development managers are going to become the most important employees at a brand. The person who cuts a deal for their detergent to be carried by a new Dash-enabled washing machine is a hero. Good luck, brand managers, trying to get consumers to reprogram their washing machine to order something different.

So, what do we do? First and foremost, agencies have to start incorporating Amazon Dash as a point of difference in their pitch – get to consumers early – even if it is outside of the normal comfort zone. Conversely, if you work for a brand that isn’t going to land an Amazon Dash deal, it’s time to start extolling the evil of having decisions made for you. Next, it’s time to come up with a new model in which loyalty is defined by category – not brand – and is at the front of the sales cycle. Traditional models start with awareness – but now the first consideration is going to be a new definition of loyalty (does the consumer have an Amazon Dash device?).

I’m not trying to walk around with a sign that says, “the end of the advertising world is here” because I can’t be sure that this concept will reach market saturation, but it is Amazon – not some startup – and there are plenty of lazy people, like me, who welcome this technology. As such, we at bloomfield knoble are already pondering it, and it’s quite possible that our clients are too. Now, if I just had a button that finished my work for me . . .


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
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Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

27 Oct 2015
flipboard

Using data to enhance ad targeting

I was at a family gathering this weekend and was watching my son and my nieces and nephews (aged from 8  – 14) avoid social interaction with adults by spending all of their time on iPads or iPhones when I noticed something interesting. They were all on the same platform (Instagram) and sharing a verbal conversation about what they were looking at, but they were all processing the information differently. One kid would find a funny picture and tell the other kids. All the kids would go to that picture and laugh or comment, but even though they were at the same starting point, they would go different directions on their own mobile device until another funny picture was found and then the process would repeat itself.

Watching them reinforced that relevancy is a vital plank of any advertising plan – that even though we at bloomfield knoble, or any advertising agency, think we know what people are going to do – we don’t. It is because of this uncertainty that you find more and more advertising campaigns offering additional information across a wide variety of social media platforms. It wasn’t that many years ago that the only action we thought people would take would be to call a phone number. Then it became the only action we thought people would take would be to go to the website. Now an agency has to prepare for, well, everything. So I am always pleased when platforms make life easier for us here at bloomfield knoble.

I was quite excited to read that Flipboard opened up its data to enhance ad targeting on its platform. If you’re not familiar with them, Flipboard gives people a single place to follow all of their interests. People use Flipboard to enjoy their favorite sources from around the world and then save stories, images, and videos into their own Flipboard magazines—sharing items that reflect their interests, express their perspectives, or are simply things they want to read later.

Curation, reader behavior and social data together with Flipboard’s powerful Topic Engine, which understands the content of articles, are the key elements of the social magazine’s new Interest Graph Targeting. Interest Graph Targeting combines the best of two worlds: contextual advertising and behavioral targeting, without their downsides. Instead of targeting individuals based on cookies and tracking them across the Internet, which is not a viable option on mobile devices, Flipboard’s Interest Graph lets brands reach people based on billions of stories per month across thousands of publishers including the top premium publishers that users are reading, sharing, curating, liking, and discussing.

This launch signifies a next phase in Flipboard’s advertising business as advertisers can now increase the relevancy of their full-page adds, Promoted Stories or Videos and Brand Magazines by placing them near related stories and by reaching people who are interested in this content. “Flipboard is well known for beauty and design, which is reflected in the presentation of content as well as advertising. We combine this beauty with ‘brains’: our deep understanding of the intricate connections between people, content and interests through our Interest Graph,” said Mike McCue, Flipboard’s co-founder and CEO. “The Interest Graph powers content discovery on Flipboard and now, we’re opening it up to our brand partners who want to get their messages in front of their audience in the right context as well as in the right mindset.”

Interest Graph Targeting also ensures that ads appear in proximity to and in related content, making them interesting and relevant to the topic a person is reading about on Flipboard. Flipboard’s ad data has historically shown strong performance when brand ads and branded content were aligned with relevant interest channels. Interest Graph Targeting further enhances this contextual targeting by giving advertisers access to all 34,000 Flipboard topics and using the billions of user data points. High-end brands, that place a premium on the placement of ads, can use Interest Graph targeting to ensure their ads appear in the appropriate context.For instance, a retirement fund can target financial topics, and an airline can target different travel destinations; Flipboard’s Interest Graph automatically knows all the related relevant topics omitting hours of research into keywords. “We can go beyond the keyword to find like-minded people in broader contexts that will resonate with an advertiser’s brand narrative,” said Dave Huynh, head of ad product at Flipboard. As Flipboard’s audience grows—recently reaching 80 million monthly active users—advertisers increasingly seek out the platform to reach their audiences. To meet the growing interest from brands, the company has made advertising a key focus this year, expanding its ad formats and targeting capabilities.Using tools like Flipboard’s Interest Graph can be of great benefit to both advertising agencies like bloomfield knoble, but more importantly, provide a better (more relevant) experience to the reader – and at the end of the day, that’s really what we want to accomplish.

 


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
twitter
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.

 

08 Oct 2015
Focus-Group-version-3-300x300

So did you really like our ad?

focus groupWe at bloomfield knoble are big believers in testing our creative and creative messaging. We have conducted focus groups, in-depth interviews, online panels and software to measure eye-tracking and other physiological responses. The challenge with this, or any type of testing, is to avoid testing bias and to, as much as possible, accurately record responses. As anyone who has ever been involved in testing, this is much harder than it seems. Now it turns out that there may be a way to remove bias altogether by using technology that can analyze a person’s face as they watch advertisements.

A system made by Affectiva, a start-up in Waltham, Massachusetts, can pick up on hidden emotions just by monitoring face movements. According to an article by Aviva Rutkin writing in New Scientist, Affectiva’s software first pinpoints important facial markers, such as the mouth, eyebrows and the top of the nose. then, machine-learning algorithms watch how those regions move or how the skin texture and color changes over the course of the video. These changes are broken down into discrete expressions indicating shifting emotions.

According to Affectiva’s principal scientist Daniel McDuff, the approach lets you find out what people actually think from moment to moment while the ad runs, not just what they say once it is over. “It provides a way of getting at those more genuine, spontaneous interactions,” he says. “This is their visceral response. It’s not sent through a cognitive filter where they have to evaluate how they feel.” In a study published this month, McDuff and his colleagues asked 1,223 people to give his team access to their home webcams while they watched a series of ads for sweets, pet supplies and groceries.

Before and after the ads ran, the subjects filled out online surveys about how likely they were to purchase the products shown. While they watched, the software stayed on the lookout for emotions, such as happiness, surprise or confusion. Afterwards, the researchers found that they could use the facial data to accurately predict someone’s survey results –  suggesting that they could rely on the computer’s analysis alone to know where an ad was successful. In the future, McDuff thinks the system could plug into TV services such as Netflix. “You could imagine suggesting TV programs or movies that people could watch, or ads that they find more enjoyable,” he says.

The Affectiva team has amassed a database of over three million videos of people across different ages, genders and ethnicities. McDuff says that there seem to be subtle variations in emotional responses: women tend to have more positive facial expressions than men, for example. By understanding how different groups respond, companies could put together ads that are fine-tuned for particular audiences. The data could also help advertisers to tweak their ads to tie in more closely to viewers’ emotions – for example, by putting in the name of the brand at the moment that elicits the strongest positive reaction.

Automated emotional analysis systems are promising, says Michel Wedel, who studies consumer science at the University of Maryland in College Park. They let advertisers break an ad down moment by moment to figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t. “What’s particularly powerful is that they’re unobtrusive,” he says. “They don’t rely on introspection or recollection.”


 About The Author

thomas-thompson-headshot

A STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) graduate and COO of bloomfield knoble, Thomas exemplifies the view that advertising is becoming an engineering discipline. He leads the integrated insights and strategic planning group in a way consistent with bloomfield knoble’s goal of bringing a strong analytical foundation to uncover fresh and innovative insights and business opportunities.
Connect With Thomas J Thompson
twitter
facebooklinkedin_25x25youtube_25X25

# # #

Who is bloomfield knoble?

bloomfield knoble is a full-service, premier strategic marketing and advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas. Our clients include top 50 Fortune companies and unique businesses that seek a strategic partner to empower their offerings and growth. Whether developing an integrated advertising campaign, a direct marketing tactical approach, brand framework and positioning exercise, or daily creative, technical and consulting support, bloomfield knoble provides a one-to-one approach. Call Eric Hirschhorn to learn more at 214-254-3805, or eric@bloomweb.com.